Gaia De Megni


“I like to imagine the process as a kind of alchemical experiment. A race into the unknown, without knowing how it will end”

AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?

GDM: I was born in Santa Margherita Ligure on 16th August 1993, in the province of Genoa. My first approach with the arts as an expressive medium was looking at the paintings made by my grandfather, who used to paint in an abstract style with oil colors. Later I developed a predisposition for drawing and painting, which have accompanied me over the years during high school. Immediately after I graduated from the tourism high school I decided to en-roll in the Painting and Visual Arts course at NABA (New Academy of Fine Arts).


AT: When did it become serious?

GDM: For less than a year.


AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?

GDM: The person who I still consider a point of reference today is Marcello Mal-oberti, an artist I respect very much and is for me a real maestro to whom I will never stop being grateful. Furthermore, by attending NABA, I got to meet some of the most important personalities of contemporary art in Italy and abroad: the rector Marco Scotini, Andris Birkmanis, Elvira Vannini, Luca Cerizza, Massimo Bartolini, Adrian Paci, Yuri Acarani, the De Serio brothers, Riccardo Benassi, Ettore Favini. All of them, through their teachings, left me something, helping me to build what is my job today.


AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?

GDM: In my work I try to analyze the collective imagination and its representa-tions through some pre-existing structures that characterize it, such as: memory, cinema archive, the myths, words, the role of the actor, sound and digital archive. By activating a process of fragmentation of these elements, I try to create a subdivision into levels of interpretation, which help me and the viewer to think about the uniqueness of each of them, in search of analogies with their own experience. Furthermore, I often try to insert natural elements to deal with a sort of mythology of images, in an attempt to find a matrix.

Il mito dell’androgino, 2020, Engraving on nero Marquinia marble spheres, d.8 cm / d.15 cm / d.20 cm | courtesy Giorgio Galotti, Turin (IT)

AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?

GDM: I would like to be able to give new interpretations to the contents we receive, without suffering an overload of information. Thinking about the concept of display, I investigate the direction of the eye of the beholder, where thought finds breath, away from the canon and nomenclature. In dealing with visual devices, I am interested in the diversity that each of us shows when decoding an image through our own background.


AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

GDM: I really enjoy working with sound, with projections, with voice and with the body as a visionary device. I am very attracted to elements such as stone, water, uncontaminated nature, which I interpret as the main conductors, founders of what is today the boundless world of images.


AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?

GDM: I like to imagine the process as a kind of alchemical experiment. A race into the unknown, without knowing how it will end.


AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?

GDM: I would like my works to never end, a bit like Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Non-Finito which for this reason is infinite, in continuous transformation thanks to the gaze of those in front of it.

Nulla si sa, tutto si immagina, 2018, Video projections on engraved Biancone marble and Nero Marquinia marble, 38x48x38 cm | courtesy Giorgio Galotti, Turin (IT)

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?

GDM: I take a lot of inspiration from the history of cinema and from different directing approaches, I really like German romantic painting and Greek mythology.


AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?

GDM: Leonardo Da Vinci with his studies on the motion of the soul. Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni and Agnès Varda, for the use of cinematic syntax. Sanja Ivekovic, in the 1979 performance: Trokut. Fabio Mauri, in the reworking of the screen and Rosa Barba.


AT: How important is the role of social media for you?

GDM: I believe that social networks are mainly a means of information, a great way to quickly communicate a message and for this reason I believe that they hold a much stronger power than what is sometimes perceived. I do not like to fall into the illusion that these illusions of reality can be substitutes for it and, in the case of a work of art, that they can narrate it at three hundred and sixty degrees.

S.Carlo, 2019, Performance and installation Winner Premio Lydia, Ex Lazzaretto, Milan (IT) | courtesy Giorgio Galotti, Turin (IT)

AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?

GDM: I believe that the contemporary art system is very complex and fascinating at the same time. For a young artist, I think it’s extremely important to find someone who appreciates and believes in the work. For me, the beginning of the collaboration with Giorgio Galotti’s gallery was fundamental.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

GDM: I always try to see the glass as half full and to prevent certain sensations from taking over and taking possession of my research. However, the strength of a successful job and the encounter with the other remain the best sensations in the universe.


AT: What do you do besides art?

GDM: I am preparing a master’s thesis in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies with Luca Cerizza.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

GDM: Complete new projects with my gallery and make a movie.

8.30, 2014, Video 16:9, 8.30 min | courtesy Giorgio Galotti, Turin (IT)
"In my work I try to analyse new layers of interpretation. The quoted, written, heard word is an invitation to the imagination of the viewer, a direct link to memory. By examining images as a site of the contemporary, I work on the display to make their presence tangible and sculptural. By designing visual devices, I try to approach the content that is presented to us in a more subjective way. In performance, the costume is like a second skin. The actor is the body, the mimesis in the performance and the invisible space between fiction and reality".

Gaia De Megni (b. 1993) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working in Milan, Italy.